In-home health care can benefit both you and your senior parents. If you have been the primary caregiver, home health care provides a welcome respite so you can focus on your own responsibilities. As for your parents, home health care provides a means for them to stay in their home and maintain some independence. Of course, there are some mistakes that you need to avoid, and this guide can help you do just that.
#1: Not considering all the necessary services
Not all home health care services are the same. For example, skilled nursing services typically only cover medical care within the home, as do many other home nursing or skilled services. If you actually need more help with the day to day living aspect, nursing services won't be sufficient. Instead, you need caregiver services. These services can handle things like minor household tasks, preparing meals, and running errands – generally everything you would do for your parent as a caregiver. If your parent only needs someone to come in a few times a week to perform occupational therapy, on the other hand, then skilled nursing or therapy services are sufficient.
#2: Failing to implement a system
It's important that you have a system in place, especially if your parent will have more than one caregiver or if you will be sharing caregiver duties. You need to know the last time your parent took their medication or what was said at the last doctor's appointment, for example. A caregiver's notebook is the simplest way to do this, either on paper or as a digital file you all share access to. Every caregiver should note down the time of important things that occurred on shift, as well as including any important notes of what occurred while they were there. This way everyone can be sure they are giving your parents the care they deserve.
#3: Ignoring the employer relationship
If you hire an independent caregiver, then you are effectively their employer. This means you will be responsible for withholding payroll taxes, having any insurance required in your state for home care workers, and otherwise following local and federal employment law. You may be able to hire them as a contract worker, but you will want to consult with an accountant to ensure this is set up correctly so there are no tax liabilities on you or your parent's part. Often, it is easier to work with an agency, which will be the employer and you will simply be a client. You can still interview and pick out the best caregiver, but without the hassle of being the primary employer.
For more help, contact a home health care service, such as Neighbors Home Care Services, in your area.